Cancer in the kitchen again? Nicholas D. Kristof in his New York Times column of December 5, 2009, reminds women to be wary of plastics in the kitchen as hot plastics may be causing breast cancer. Of course, no absolute direct link is known, however, this simply begs common sense.
Imagine all that the human body consumes – many known and unknown ingredients. The human body processes each element keeping the nutrients which are needed and then eliminating what is not needed. Unlike a car, the human body is an amazing sophisticated machine, which runs on almost anything.
However, knowing that a heated plastic coated pan emits toxic fumes and kills pet birds – it is good basic common sense that plastic containers HEATED in any way may breakdown and leach into food. For instance – anything warmer than cold may be a hazard – think cooking in plastic in the microwave; washing plastic in the dishwasher; or, even storing warm or hot leftovers into a plastic container. The human body can only do so much to get rid of toxins.
Kristoff asks a good question to the doctors at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He asked them what did they do at home to “avoid the riskes”. The answers Kristoff noted are good to remember: do not microwave food in plastic, do not put plastics in the dishwasher and avoid plastics marked with recycling numbers 3, 6 and 7.
Often reading the words “dishwasher safe” and “microwave safe” the warning suggestion is actually for the safety and integrity of the food container. Perhaps a new way of way of thinking is – what is the health impact of the person eating from this container after heated. Instead of creating environmental and health hazards for you and your family (and your pets) – find alternatives to plastics in your home. Use small amounts of butter or olive oil instead of any non-stick or Teflon coated pan. Use glassware for saving left overs or using in the microwave.
The culmination of toxins from everyday items are probably causing more harm that we realize. Be on the safe side and make modifications where you can and use common sense.
By Keri Douglas, writer/photographer, Washington, D.C.
The National Resource Defense Council has a special section on plastic.